Govt: 174 affordable housing units, home energy score decision reversed, Rayfield snatches speaker nod, no holiday buses

Paper house on cracked earth, crisis concept

The Corvallis City Council unanimously approved $500,000 in funding for a new 174-unit affordable housing project at its meeting on Monday, November 21. The development will be located at 2910 SW 3rd St. in South Corvallis.

“This is a historic number of affordable units that I have never seen in my career,” Brigetta Olson, department head for housing and neighborhood services, told the council on Monday. “I’ve spent two decades in affordable housing and this would bring in many important units to serve our low-income people.”

The project is funded by the Affordable excise tax for housing (AHCET). In November 2016, the Council adopted the AHCET Regulations on New Residential, Commercial and Industrial Developments.

The total cost of the development is over $70 million, and the $500,000 request from the city is for development costs, Olson said. “The project was funded primarily by the state of Oregon and $6.9 million from Oregon Housing Community Services. Our potential $500,000 piece would really help with interest rates, the labor shortage and the cost of interest rates, which continue to rise and rise, and they need this to fill that gap.”

The mix of 174 multi-family units will include 18 urban studios, 66 studios, 66 two-bedrooms and 24 three-bedroom apartments.

“This will have a total of 288 bedrooms that will likely serve well over 300 people. All units are provided with an average area income of 60%. For reference, for a single person in 2022, their income must be at or below $39,960, and for a family of four, income must be at or below $57,060, Olson said. “These incomes change annually based on the annual median income per housing and urban development (HUD). A partnership has been formed with the Linn-Benton Housing Authority, which grants Union at Pacific a property tax exemption. The rents will be so low that they participate in the voucher program.”

The proposed development will be overseen by Annex Group, an Indiana-based multi-family developer, general contractor and owner. Construction is scheduled to start on December 8 of this year, with completion scheduled for December 1, 2024.

House Energy Score Ordinance: Do homeowners have to pay for a home energy inspection before putting their home on the market? Well, councilors initially voted yes in June, but then turned around a few weeks later and voted no. Then, even later, they decided to send the question to voters. And now, as of Monday, they have reversed course again.

The Council unanimously decided to withhold the opportunity to refer the matter to voters and instead continue to work towards consensus. At one point during the meeting, Council members considered implementing the ordinance, but by a vote of 3-6 the proposal fell with only Council members Charlyn Ellis, Paul Schaffer and Gabe Shepherd supporting the proposal.

With newly elected council members and a new mayor taking office in January, this ordinance is likely to see more activity next year.

Rayfield will receive Nod for the full term as spokesperson: Our District’s Representative in the House of Representatives, Dan Rayfield, has been nominated to represent the House. The three-year Democrat was originally selected for the position when his predecessor, Tina Kotek, resigned in an ultimately successful attempt to win Oregon’s governorship.

Transport: The city is reminding everyone that there will be no bus service on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and that Friday will be game day at OSU, which means some changes to the bus service for the day.

The Benton County Board of Commissioners did not meet this week because of the holiday. They will resume their regular meeting next week.

By Jennifer Williams and Advocate Staff

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